Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Anger as the Newly Elevated National Schools Inflate Fees

Kisumu Girls Students

Parents were treated to a rude shock when schools opened for the term one as they got the revised fee structures. It is now emerging that the newly elevated national secondary schools have doubled in other extreme cases tripled their school fees. For instance, in Baringo High School, Baringo County, the parents were paying approximately Ksh.24, 000 as at last year but this year, the school management revised the fee structure and now parents are required to part with Ksh.48, 000, double the amount they used to pay last year. In another case in Kisumu County, parents of students in Kisumu Girls (which was the only girls’ school to be elevated in the county) increased their school fees to a staggering Ksh. 70,000 down from Ksh.30, 000. “That amount can cater for two academic years for my son who is in the university!” said a parent who was rather astonished by the inflated school fees.

New Status
It is not understood on what basis the schools decided to increase the school fees given that the government through the Ministry of Education disbursed Ksh.25 million to each school for upgrading of its facilities to that of a national school. It is not clear weather the government sanctioned the move by the schools but in common practice the fee structure is revised after carrying out consultations with the parents and approval by the government. The government is yet to respond to this unfortunate trend. It is widely believed that the hiking of the school fee has been undertaken owing to the new status that the schools have attained.
Locking Out Needy Students
The government decided to increase the number of national schools to create more space for the students going to the schools which usually perform exceptionally than the county and district secondary schools. However, bright students from needy families have missed out the chance to learn in the best schools since they cannot afford the usually extremely high school fees. Some parents have decided to pull out their students saying that they cannot to pay the revised fee. “I have three children in the institutions of higher learning with two in the university privately sponsored and one in college. I cannot afford to pay the new school fees” Said one of the parents. The move by the newly upgraded national schools to increase their school fees will lock more students from less fortunate families to join the schools.